Go Green

Adapt Your Home Electronics to Be More Green

There are multiple ways in which you can go green to lessen the carbon footprint you leave on the world. Making a few changes can help to lower monthly utility bills and save you money in the long run. These changes can range from free habits to larger investments but going green in your home is easy and will still allow you to enjoy all the latest in entertainment and technology.

Energy Bills

The little changes can make impact electricity bills for the office or home in large ways. When you can’t afford to invest a fortune in green items, try smaller changes for larger savings.

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  • Unplug Electronics - Energy is used when electronics stay plugged in. Many people will leave their cell phones charging long after it is fully charged. Once the phone is completely charged, be sure to remove the charger until the phone reaches the point in which it needs to be charged again.
  • Personal Computers – Personal computers typically have features that will control and mange the amount of energy that is used. Check in the control panel and make sure that it is using the lowest-power setting. Televisions also have this feature so be sure to view the user manual to find out how to reduce the amount of energy is uses as well.
  • The Off Switch – Anytime a movie is over or you are done playing video games, be sure to turn off the console or DVD player. The television should be turned off as well instead of sitting on standby mode.
  • Power Strips – If you can spare the extra cash, try to invest some money in a surge protector. These power-saving strips can help save up to 10 percent on electricity bills. Any electronics such as televisions, audio systems, and DVD players should be plugged into these and when the equipment is not being used, the strip should be turned off. Prior to plugging the electronics in, make sure you read the user manuals to determine whether or not the electronics and the power strip are compatible.
  • Smart Technology – Newer electronics are becoming more power efficient, making their carbon footprint smaller and your utilities bill lower. In some cases you may want to upgrade your existing technology to more energy efficient models. If you do get new equipment, make sure and recycle your old electronics. Many stores have places where you can leave batteries, cell phones, computers, and more for free to be recycled.

Home Systems

A wiring system will help integrate security, heating, lighting, and entertainment systems and improve efficiency. They will also help to reduce the number of materials being used because they rely on a central system. Using smart sensors and meters will ensure only electronics are being used when you want them to be used.

  • Energy Star – Energy Star products have been helping consumers save sixteen million dollars on utility bills. As of 2007, there were five hundred million energy products sold and this number continues to increase. When you are looking to purchase new appliances or electronics, make sure to look for Energy Star as a way to go green.
  • LED Bulbs – LED bulbs use much less energy than any other bulb, meaning they will last longer and your utilities bill will be lower. The average life of an LED bulb is around 40,000 hours, while incandescent bulbs only run around 1,000 hours and CFL bulbs only run around 8,000 hours. They also don't contain any toxic materials, making this a great choice for the environment and your wallet.
  • Smart Systems – Lights that have pre-programming and dimming functions such as turning lights off when a person in no longer in the room, will help save energy as well. Sensors for rooms can also have the ability to adjust HVAC systems when rooms are unoccupied.
  • Central Command Systems – By using central command systems you will not have to remember whether or not you turned the heat down. Automation and home-control products allow you to control heating, cooling, lighting, security, and entertainment all from one central location rather than many different locations. Everything you need, can be accessed with one little touch and by having everything digital, you will save materials and space. Patch panels are a good way to connect and organize your entire house to a networked central command system.
  • Save Even More – Laptops, desktop computers, and monitors that are EPEAT products have met all the environmental criteria such as maximum energy efficiency throughout the product’s lifetime, the promotion of biodegradability and recyclability, and reducing the use of materials that may be hazardous.

Future Planning

If you are considering renovations or building a home, consider going green from the ground up. Building a green home will save the homeowner long-term through low utility bills.You can save even more by running network and communication cables yourself. Modern homes are full of electronics, most of which need to communicate with each other, that means you need a lot of Cat5 wiring to keep everything connected. Luckily, you can buy Cat5 wiring in bulk, which saves you money and allows you to use only the amount of cable you need, which reduces your carbon footprint.

Cat5e Cable
  • Wires – Use structured wiring (such as Bulk Cat5 cable, flat speaker cable, etc.) to maximize communications control, and security when laying out the groundwork for any technological enhancements in the future. In some green home plans, there is a control system that combines all the current security, HVAC, lighting, and entertainment plans, but it is flexible enough to integrate better electronics in the future.
  • TechHome Rating – The CEA-sponsored, nationally recognized, TechHome system is in place to provide a model for integrators, consumers, and builders as a way to demonstrate the types of products which may be installed to make a home more intelligent and efficient with energy consumption.
  • Safe Wiring – Be sure to stick within fire code and wiring codes when doing your own wiring jobs. One product that can help ensure safe wiring when installing appliances (such as flat panel HDTVs to a wall for instance) is the recessed power kit. This allows you to cleanly and safely install your HDTV cables.

Another Wiring Tip

Running your own cable is much friendlier on your wallet, but it can be difficult at times. If you need to pull long lengths of cable through conduits or other tight places with a rope you could damage the conduit and your cable by the friction generated from pulling the rope. Many ropes have a tendency to break as well, which could snap back in your face and leave you frustrated. SolidRun Pull Tape was specially designed to make your installation process easier. It’s been pre lubricated to cut down on heat and friction, and it’s flat, which distributes the tension much more effectively. If you want to run your own cable, Pull Tape is a sure way to make your life easier.

To learn more about how you can live a greener lifestyle, visit the links below:

  • Easy Ways to Go Green – This PDF document provides going green tips on how to properly dispose of hazardous waste, Energy Star appliances, and computer power management.
  • Go Green for Gorillas – The Smithsonian National Zoo has a program which allows people to recycle their cell phones and other small electronics as a way to help the environment, support the zoo, and help protect gorillas and their environment.
  • 10 Simple Ways – This PDF document provide 10 tips on ways to go green from recycling to unplugging electronics and appliances when not in use.
  • 8 Ways to Go Green – Here you can learn eight ways you can help the environment with an energy-efficient office.
  • Benefits of Eco-Friendly Computing – This power point presentation proves twenty tips for green computer use.
  • Green at Home Tips – Here you can learn more about things you can do to live a “greener” lifestyle and how much you can save by putting these simple tips to use.
  • 150 Ways to Go Green – This is a great list of things you can do to go green. It also mentions the type of computer screen to use to be more energy-efficient.
  • Goodwill – Goodwill has a ReCompute business in which donated laptops go into a computer workshop. The technicians refurbish the old equipment while recycling unusable parts responsibly.
  • LG Electronics – LG offers a recycling program for LG electronics. Since 2009, they have recycled 28,622,570 pounds of electronics through this program.
  • Samsung – Samsung offers a recycling program for old toner cartridges. They also recycle other Samsung electronics.
  • Sony – Sony has a recycling program called Road to Zero. This website provides all the information you need to recycle any old Sony electronics you are ready to part with.
  • Dell – If you have any old Dell equipment that you would like to recycle, visit this website and find out how.
  • National Christina Foundation – The National Christina Foundation accepts donations of electronic equipment for those who are disabled or disadvantaged.
  • Call2Recycle – This is a nonprofit organization that provides free cell phone and battery recycling for those in North America.
  • Best Buy – Electronic retailer, Best Buy, offers a recycling program for electronics as well. They accept various electronics regardless of where it was originally purchased.
  • Office Depot – Office Depot has an electronic recycling program for various office items.
  • Komputers 4 R Kids – Donating computer equipment here helps enable equal access to today’s technology to the needy children in Southern California.
  • Recycle End of Life Electronics – This article provides information about what recycling electronics will do for the future of our environment.
  • Computer Reuse and Recycling Opportunities – This pamphlet provides information on the amounts of lead a computer contains and what to look for when purchasing a new computer.
  • E-Cycling – Here you can learn ways to go green, why you should recycle electronics, and how to purchase green new products.